COVID-19 Update: Arizona doctors becoming concerned with ‘Triple Threat’ including coronavirus, flu and West Nile
COTTONWOOD — Yavapai County officials reported Friday that state doctors are starting to become concerned with what they’re calling a “Triple Threat,” which is a COVID-19 infection along with the West Nile virus and flu season.
In an article on fronterasdesk.org entitled, “COVID-19 outbreak slows, but Arizona hospitals are busier than ever,” Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association CEO Ann-Marie Alameddin said that illnesses like influenza and West Nile are sending more Arizonans to the hospital, which continue to face staffing shortages.
Alameddin said despite the decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to vaccines and mitigation measures, more Arizonans need to get vaccinated to prevent further strain on the system.
“Everyone has to do their part,” Alameddin told fronterasdesk.org.
With the 2021-22 flu season underway, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an initial low transmission of the influenza virus.
For example, Yavapai County has reported only nine cases so far.
“It’s nearly impossible to differentiate between the coronavirus, West Nile virus, or the influenza virus without a test, however, there are some distinctive signs you can look out for like loss of taste and smell, shortness of breath and neck stiffness,” Yavapai County Community Health Services spokesperson Terri Farneti said in a statement Friday, Oct. 8.
Farneti added that neck stiffness is most likely to be a symptom of West Nile virus complications, and usually doesn’t occur in COVID-19.
“Unlike West Nile, which is only transmitted from mosquitoes, the flu and COVID-19 are both airborne viruses,” Farneti said. “The West Nile virus is not contagious. It cannot be transmitted from person to person. The flu is a highly contagious disease. It spreads when you encounter the germs someone else sneezes or coughs, like COVID-19.”
Farneti listed a few tips from doctors on how Verde Valley residents can protect themselves:
From the flu: Get a flu shot, wash your hands. Call 928-771-3122 to make an appointment for a flu shot.
From COVID-19: Wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands.
From West Nile: Wear bug spray, wear long pants and shirts when outside and drain any standing water by you.
On Friday, Yavapai County reported 314 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths since Monday, Oct. 4.
The county has tested 146,786 residents for COVID-19 and there have been 26,784 positive cases and 649 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood has reported 16 new COVID-19 patients, while the Yavapai Regional Medical Center network in Prescott and Prescott Valley reported 34 new patients. The Prescott VA has reported one new COVID-19 patient.
The county is still experiencing high transmission of COVID-19 with a 14.1% positivity rate and 209 cases per 100,000 residents for the week ending Oct. 2.
From May 1 to Oct. 8, there have been 7,254 positive tests of COVID-19 in the county, 6,395 (88.2%) were unvaccinated individuals. There have been 679 people admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, 604 (88.9%) were unvaccinated, and there has been 121 deaths in the county in the same time frame, 116 (95.7%) of which were unvaccinated.
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 2,702 additional COVID-19 cases Friday, with 37 new deaths.
COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to range near 1,800, with 1,770 virus patients occupying hospital beds as of Thursday, Oct. 7, the dashboard reported.
For more information, visit yavapaiaz.gov/chs.
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